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Phil Wood is a name I remember from back in the day. And by “back in the day” I mean the early- to mid-80s, you know, the glory days. In fact, a buddy of mine still has his on his bike from I think 1985 and he refuses to use anything else because “they’re still smooth.” But somewhere along the line, I didn’t hear much from Phil Wood, this maker of incredible hubs. Word had it that they decided to concentrate more on making hubs for wheelchairs. OK, whatever. But Phil Wood is still in BMX, and are making some of the best hubs on the market.
We got our hands on Phil’s newest model: the Phlight Hubs. I was happy to see that instead of the traditional axle nut, that the Phlights use allen bolts. What a welcome relief … no more stripped bolts, struggling with cone wrenches to cinch a tight fit. Simple. I’m also a fan of the flange height, which is in between a low flange and a high flange. I like a stiffer wheel and the overall appearance as well. We laced the wheels up in a four-cross pattern (as recommended by Phil Wood) with 195 mm spokes, and to complete the deal we used Sun BFRs. Can you say, “beefy”?
The Phlight Hubs are a bit tricky to get onto the dropouts. They need some encouragement. I tried on a couple different forks and frames and the result was the same, so it wasn’t my equipment. But once on, you’re all set. With a first “spin test” we found the hubs to be fast, smooth, and silent. Everything one can hope for. But how do they ride?
Well, after a few months of hard riding, trails, racing, sprint training, etc., they still spin fast, smooth, and silent. I especially love the allen bolts because they’re so easy with the dropouts on my frame and fork. I used to need all these extensions and random tools so that I could get the bolts tightened quickly.
The bearings have stayed true over time. No clicking, hopping, or grinding has been noted. And judging by my friends hubs, I imagine that they’ll still be just as good 15 years from now.
If your bike shop doesn’t carry Phil Wood hubs, you can order them directly on their web site at PhilWood.com. They receive our highest recommendation.
16oz is the weight of the hubset, 9 rear 7 front. They use a higher quality, longer lasting, faster rolling R8 bearing which they claim none of their competitors use.
Front ; 54.5 Flange D, 30 center to flange
More Phil Wood Info:
Phil Wood also sells complete wheels (Phil Wood 14 gaugue spokes w/rhino lytes) with American made aluminum made specially for Phil Wood. All bearings are specially made for Phil Wood in Switzerland and guaranteed for life against manufacturer’s defect (not bearings). Phil Wood is also coming out with a mini hub: only comes with 14 sided thread ; only 8.5 oz between the two of them.
And be on the lookout for their new flip-flop set coming up soon!
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